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Thread: The Fragile Generation

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    The Fragile Generation

    The Fragile Generation
    Bad policy and paranoid parenting are making kids too safe to succeed.

    Lenore Skenazy & Jonathan Haidt from the December 2017 issue - view article in the Digital Edition

    One day last year, a citizen on a prairie path in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst came upon a teen boy chopping wood. Not a body. Just some already-fallen branches. Nonetheless, the onlooker called the cops.

    Officers interrogated the boy, who said he was trying to build a fort for himself and his friends. A local news site reports the police then "took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy's parents."

    Elsewhere in America, preschoolers at the Learning Collaborative in Charlotte, North Carolina, were thrilled to receive a set of gently used playground equipment. But the kids soon found out they would not be allowed to use it, because it was resting on grass, not wood chips. "It's a safety issue," explained a day care spokeswoman. Playing on grass is against local regulations.

    And then there was the query that ran in Parents magazine a few years back: "Your child's old enough to stay home briefly, and often does. But is it okay to leave her and her playmate home while you dash to the dry cleaner?" Absolutely not, the magazine averred: "Take the kids with you, or save your errand for another time." After all, "you want to make sure that no one's feelings get too hurt if there's a squabble."

    The principle here is simple: This generation of kids must be protected like none other. They can't use tools, they can't play on grass, and they certainly can't be expected to work through a spat with a friend.

    And this, it could be argued, is why we have "safe spaces" on college campuses and millennials missing adult milestones today. We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe—and they believed us.

    Safety First
    We've had the best of intentions, of course. But efforts to protect our children may be backfiring. When we raise kids unaccustomed to facing anything on their own, including risk, failure, and hurt feelings, our society and even our economy are threatened. Yet modern child-rearing practices and laws seem all but designed to cultivate this lack of preparedness. There's the fear that everything children see, do, eat, hear, and lick could hurt them. And there's a newer belief that has been spreading through higher education that words and ideas themselves can be traumatizing.

    How did we come to think a generation of kids can't handle the basic challenges of growing up?

    Beginning in the 1980s, American childhood changed. For a variety of reasons—including shifts in parenting norms, new academic expectations, increased regulation, technological advances, and especially a heightened fear of abduction (missing kids on milk cartons made it feel as if this exceedingly rare crime was rampant)—children largely lost the experience of having large swaths of unsupervised time to play, explore, and resolve conflicts on their own. This has left them more fragile, more easily offended, and more reliant on others. They have been taught to seek authority figures to solve their problems and shield them from discomfort, a condition sociologists call "moral dependency."

    This poses a threat to the kind of open-mindedness and flexibility young people need to thrive at college and beyond. If they arrive at school or start careers unaccustomed to frustration and misunderstandings, we can expect them to be hypersensitive. And if they don't develop the resources to work through obstacles, molehills come to look like mountains.

    This magnification of danger and hurt is prevalent on campus today. It no longer matters what a person intended to say, or how a reasonable listener would interpret a statement—what matters is whether any individual feels offended by it. If so, the speaker has committed a "microaggression," and the offended party's purely subjective reaction is a sufficient basis for emailing a dean or filing a complaint with the university's "bias response team." The net effect is that both professors and students today report that they are walking on eggshells. This interferes with the process of free inquiry and open debate—the active ingredients in a college education.

    And if that's the case already, what of the kids still in grammar school, constantly reminded they might accidentally hurt each other with the wrong words? When today's 8-year-olds become the 18-year-olds starting college, will they still view free speech as worthy of protecting? As Daniel Shuchman, chairman of the free speech-promoting Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), puts it, "How likely are they to consider the First Amendment essential if they start learning in fifth grade that you're forbidden to say—or even think—certain things, especially at school?"

    Parents, teachers, and professors are talking about the growing fragility they see. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the overprotection of children and the hypersensitivity of college students could be two sides of the same coin. By trying so hard to protect our kids, we're making them too safe to succeed.
    Much more - a long essay for Internet times but well worth it.

    This isn't simply, "In my day......". People are actually failing to acquire normative social and individual skill sets that would make them more emotionally resilient and better able to resolve interpersonal conflict.

    Read the whole thing.

    Reason

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    My children were born in the 1980's. They were brought up the same way I was.

    Not a snowflake in the bunch.

    Mark
    Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

    "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

    Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

    Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    Much more - a long essay for Internet times but well worth it.

    This isn't simply, "In my day......". People are actually failing to acquire normative social and individual skill sets that would make them more emotionally resilient and better able to resolve interpersonal conflict.

    Read the whole thing.

    Reason
    Well, those of us whose kids aren't afraid of their own shadows will have an advantage when it comes time for us to be dependent on them. I'm down with that.
    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

    The new 13 original states to stand up for freedom: CA, CT, IA, MA, DE, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, ME, MD, NJ (plus DC).

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    I blame the Johnny Jump-Up.
    When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, and not screaming like the passengers in his car.

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    That's a good article but:

    "Parents, teachers, and professors are talking about the growing fragility they see."

    For crying out loud, they're the reason. And it gets worse at the professor level. There's countless snowflake stories on this site alone.
    Ask not what your country can do for you.

    ~ John F. Kennedy (D-POTUS)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    That's a good article but:

    "Parents, teachers, and professors are talking about the growing fragility they see."

    For crying out loud, they're the reason. And it gets worse at the professor level. There's countless snowflake stories on this site alone.
    Sad, ennit. I was "den mother" to my oldest boys cub scout group. I took them to my Midas shop after hours and taught them welding, pipe bending, etc. I had one kid using the port-a-band. He said "I am not allowed to use power tools". I told him, "I'm the den mother, start cutting".

    Mark
    Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

    "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

    Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

    Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

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    I was thinking abut this essay today when I was watching some of the 4-H stuff at the NWSS. I dunno what the average age is for kids now to enter 4-H but I'd guess 9 or 10. There are programs for younger kids but that's probably the age most kids doing livestock get seriously started.

    The kids have leaders, obviously, but they are expected to attend, remember, and complete studies involving their project (as well as all the other 4-H stuff). Adults can offer advice and adults can interfere in real emergencies but it's up to the kid to do all the work.

    We were all in 4-H and you learn a lot. Part of what you learn is that even when you do everything "right", stuff can go really wrong, really fast. Animals sicken or die, some just fail to thrive, others look good when you buy them and grow up to be wildly off-spec, and some look great but act like animals at the worst possible moment.

    You have to roll with the punches. Start over. Try again. Get over the humiliation of abject failure. Recognize that really hard work and loads of time investment usually pays off but not every time.

    Every kid doesn't need to raise livestock to learn all that but they do need to have the time and space to fail and restart. You need to take risks and fail. You need to 'do it your way' and fail. You need to have some wounds (to the pride and the body) before you can lick them, get up, and try again.

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    I think you guys are eating your own shit on this issue.
    "That Fox News panel––the breathtaking dishonesty of it is beyond my ability to articulate. That is no longer a news organization. That is what American state media looks like. That is what White House-controlled in-the-service-of-the-president misinformation looks like. That is indistinct from propaganda in authoritarian countries. It is aimed directly at weakening essential institutions and misinforming the American people. It is appalling.”

    ~ Steve Schmidt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Jingo View Post
    I think you guys are eating your own shit on this issue.
    You think that depriving kids of managing their own face-to-face social interactions, taking age-appropriate risks, and learning from failing is.......what?

    We have no idea since you seldom articulate any position. If you disagree with the essay, state your case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    You think that depriving kids of managing their own face-to-face social interactions, taking age-appropriate risks, and learning from failing is.......what?

    We have no idea since you seldom articulate any position. If you disagree with the essay, state your case.
    I think "Generation Snowflake" is a myth perpetuated by those who revel in ugliness and malicious ridicule. It is (to use your phrase) virtue signaling done by the unjustifiably self righteous as shown by either their lack of children or the fact that their children are certainly not snowflakes.

    It is bullshit. Just like the bullshit spread about Millennials; the guys that make up the largest generation demographic in the American armed forces and consequently do most of the fighting and dying for this country.
    "That Fox News panel––the breathtaking dishonesty of it is beyond my ability to articulate. That is no longer a news organization. That is what American state media looks like. That is what White House-controlled in-the-service-of-the-president misinformation looks like. That is indistinct from propaganda in authoritarian countries. It is aimed directly at weakening essential institutions and misinforming the American people. It is appalling.”

    ~ Steve Schmidt

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